Importance of dental x-rays
Dental x-rays are a useful diagnostic tool when helping your dentist detect damage and disease not visible during a regular dental exam. Without x-rays, cavities may go undetected to the point that teeth may require root canal therapy or even extraction. Undetected periodontal disease may lead to the need for extractions or gum surgery. Additionally, many types of pathology, such as oral cancer, may only be detected by x-ray.
Dental x-rays are just as important for children as well as adults. Not only do dental x-rays detect decay in children, these images also help evaluate the growth and development of your teeth.
Although dental x-rays do give off radiation, the amount is extremely small. At Adams and Cheek Dentistry, we use digital radiography which reduces the amount of radiation. Radiation is typically measured in units called millirem (mrem). Each year, the average person receives about 620 mrem of radiation from all natural and man-made sources combined. For those patients concerned about radiation, here are some comparisons:
- .1 mrem-amount of radiation from one bitewing
- .5 mrem-round trip coast to coast plane ride
- 35 mrem-sunlight and other cosmic radiation over 1yr
- 40 mrem-radioactive trace elements in food and water over 1yr
- 228 mrem radon in the air over 1yr
- 1000 mrem-full body CT scan
- 10,000 mrem-first clinical signs of radiation injury appear
Taking routine dental x-rays help detect decay and disease early so that treatment can be as minimally invasive as possible. Putting off dental x-rays can easily lead to the need for more extensive treatment since dentists cannot see all that may be going on inside the tooth or under the gums. More extensive treatment means spending more money on your teeth and gums. As in most areas of dentistry, any preventative or routine diagnostic measure can greatly reduce the amount of dentistry needed as well as the amount of money spent on your oral health.
Please click here to schedule your dental checkup or if you have any questions we can answer for you. You can also reach us at 919.866.1360.